Social Media is a two way route. If you get to spread your word among your audience, the audience can also put forward their word to you. Well, after all, you do urge for a feedback after every little post you put up, don't you? What if the feedback you get is not what you expected? Infact, it's far from it. There is a loud grumble of complaints, criticisms and negative feedback that's coming in. And all of it is public-everyone can see (your competitor included), that you are at the receiving end of harsh words. What do you do then? How do you handle it? Here are the top 5 ways of damage control:

Be Quick: Your response has to be prompt. You have to address the grievance pronto. Delays will only lead to further criticism. So, if someone has posted about a problem they have been having about a certain product/service you offer, then steps should be taken to fix it and customers should be notified that those steps are being taken. Then quickly hunt for the problem's solution and inform the people.

Sometimes, the problem can be common for many- for example, a new mobile app, that is not functioning properly, then you can post a help center link about it, and notify the aggrieved parties.

In some cases, you customers may be using the product in an incorrect manner, and then blaming it for non functionality. Then also, point out to them the right way to use the product.
Avoid Delays at any cost.

Be Apologetic/ Be Polite: The first thing you must do when you come across a complaint is to react in an apologetic manner. A simple- “Thank You for identifying this issue. We are working on it, and regret the inconvenience caused” will work.

Your response must have a positive vibe – which means thanking for the feedback and then assuring them of action being taken. Even if a conversation starts on the comment, hold your cool and be polite to everyone involved. This positivity from your end will definitely have a good impact on the customers, and they may tone down their comments.

Be Public First- Then Take It Privately: Your first response to a complaint made on a public platform (like Facebook or Twitter) must be public. This means, you can do so via a tweet or a comment on their Facebook wall post. This will have a good impact on others as they will realise your sincerity towards solving the issue. Then, send a private message to the concerned person.

Again, keep the tone apologetic and helpful. Provide them with an e-mail id with a line like- “We deeply regret your inconvenience, however, please send the details of your problem to -email address. We will get back with a feasible solution shortly. You may also call us up at -number.”

On Facebook, you may attempt to calm them down through chatting with them too. Going for a public approach really helps. Those customers who received a reply in response to their negative review, 33% turned around and posted a positive review & 34% deleted their original negative review. This was published in a recent survey by Harris Interactive.

Be Open To Constructive Criticisms: Remember-customer is king. So, if they do give you a negative feedback about a product or a service, do not be hassled. Take it positively. Read and understand the feedback carefully. Their views do matter, don't they? So listen and analyse and implement changes after negative reviews as well. It is a known fact that the most loyal customers are the one, who bother enough to give a feedback. So value it. Your response should be tactful, and the approach should be one of support and improvement. Ask the customers on how can you work on a feedback. How can you make things easier for them? How can you help them? The responses may actually help you towards a better product.

Be aware of Spammers: You have to choose your battles, when it comes to damage control on social media. There are some people, who would create a fuss over nothing. They just make noise just for the sake of it. Some of them may be attention seekers, and not your real customers. So, monitor such people closely. Once you have identified that the person is not a genuine complainant, then do not respond further. Facebook and Twitter have the option of banning such miscreants. However, be completely sure before taking such an extreme step.

Some of these comments may be from paid spammers, who have been given the job by your competitors. So, do not waste your breath in interacting with them.

What is the gist of it all? Be positive. Do not be bogged down by any feedback. It's for your brand's good that you get to know what is wrong and needs to be worked on. Just arm yourself with tact and knowledge, and you can wave through any amount of negativity on the net.


Navneet Kaushal is the Editor-in-Chief of PageTraffic Buzz. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet is also the CEO of SEO Services company PageTraffic which is one of the leading search marketing company in Asia.